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ARTISTIC GAZE OF TWO PAPUAN CHOREOGRAPHERS: VISUAL PERSPECTIVES ROOTED IN THE ORAL TRADITIONS OF THE KAMORO AND ASMAT TRIBE

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  • Institut Kesenian Jakarta LPKJ

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This article is based on the artistic practice of two Papuan choreographers trained in the Jakarta Institute of the Arts Dance Study Program. Both based their choreographies on their traditional roots which were presented as site specific performances in their respective villages. The choice of visuals and dramatic bodily expressions created by them, though a new dance design, was based on their deeply ingrained roots as indigenous Papuans. The roots called upon to be re-interpreted as choreography were based on the oral traditions they grew up with as part of their identity. The focus in this article is on the work by Martinus Akai from the Asmat tribe performed in 2013, and the work by Alfo Smith from the Kamoro Tribe performed in 2018. The purpose of this study is to understand the way Papuan choreographers ingrained in their cultural heritage re-imagine the traditions passed down from ancient times through their ancestors. The research done by the choreographers was in the context of revisiting the rituals and ancestral narratives and interpreting for a contemporary expression. The research done for this paper was based on discussions had with both the choreographers during the process of creating their individual work. Among the methods for collecting data by the choreographers for creating their work was field research, observations, interviews and personal memories experiencing their cultural heritage. The observations by the writers for this article were during the creating process in the studio and on site and viewing the end results both as presentations and site specific performances.
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International Review of Humanities Studies
www.irhs.ui.ac.id, e-ISSN: 2477-6866, p-ISSN: 2527-9416
Vol. 5, No.1, May 2020 (Special Issue), pp. 289-302
289
ARTISTIC GAZE OF TWO PAPUAN CHOREOGRAPHERS:
VISUAL PERSPECTIVES ROOTED IN
THE ORAL TRADITIONS OF THE KAMORO AND ASMAT TRIBE
Madia Patra Ismar
Fakultas Seni Pertunjukan Institut Kesenian Jakarta
madiapatraismar@ikj.ac.id
Rahayu Pratiwi
rahayu.pratiwi@senirupaikj.ac.id
ABSTRACT
This article is based on the artistic practice of two Papuan choreographers trained in the
Jakarta Institute of the Arts Dance Study Program. Both based their choreographies on their
traditional roots which were presented as site specific performances in their respective villages.
The choice of visuals and dramatic bodily expressions created by them, though a new dance design,
was based on their deeply ingrained roots as indigenous Papuans. The roots called upon to be re-
interpreted as choreography were based on the oral traditions they grew up with as part of their
identity. The focus in this article is on the work by Martinus Akai from the Asmat tribe performed
in 2013, and the work by Alfo Smith from the Kamoro Tribe performed in 2018. The purpose of
this study is to understand the way Papuan choreographers ingrained in their cultural heritage re-
imagine the traditions passed down from ancient times through their ancestors. The research done
by the choreographers was in the context of revisiting the rituals and ancestral narratives and
interpreting for a contemporary expression. The research done for this paper was based on
discussions had with both the choreographers during the process of creating their individual work.
Among the methods for collecting data by the choreographers for creating their work was field
research, observations, interviews and personal memories experiencing their cultural heritage. The
observations by the writers for this article were during the creating process in the studio and on
site and viewing the end results both as presentations and site specific performances.1.
KEYWORDS: Choreography, oral traditions, Asmat, Kamoro, Papuan
INTRODUCTION
Choreography is a part of dance making. In the art of making dances, to understand a
choreographers view point, it would be also to understand the culture from where he or she comes
from.To quote Judith Lynne Hanna (1979) ‘to dance is human and humanity almost universally
1 The supervisors for the choreographers were Madia Patra Ismar and Dewi Hafianti both having a dance and
choreography background
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expresses itself in dance, Dance interweaves with other aspects of human life, such as
communication and learning, belief systems, social relations and political dynamics, loving and
fighting, an urbanization and change (Hanna 1979: 3).
Hence, to understand a dance in its social relations in context with its cultural background
a starting point would be to understand the movements and how the body releases its energy and
gives the visual performance that the audience sees. Again, to quote Hanna; “Dance is cultural
behavior: to understand a people's values, attitudes, and beliefs, partially determine the
conceptualization of dance as well its physical production, style, structure, content and
performance. Therefore Dance, comments reflectively on systems of thought, sustaining them or
undermining them through criticism of institutions, policies or personages. Thus action and
awareness merge.”
To understand a choreographers cultural background which is rooted in ancient history far
before there was any writing in their communities, then to study from an oral traditions perspective
would help to open an energy of empathy to see how they see the world. To gain an understanding
of the significance of socio-cultural significance of dance and how it is patterned, an ethnographic
perspective can be used to gain the view of the emic and no longer a study of the Other but a dialog
between researcher and the researched. (Buckland 2010: 135-143).
Although Hanna quoted above argues that dance can be studied as a phenomena on its own,
but in the case of Papuan culture, oftentimes the dance is expressed along with verbal articulations
as a part of their oral traditions.
Ruth Finnegan on her research in Africa, finds that,’ oral traditions is passed down word
for word from generation to generation and thus reproduced verbatim from memory throughout
the centuries; that arises communally from the people or the ‘folk’ as a whole” (Finnegan,
2000:16). Finnegan (1992) also says that meaning and artistry emerge in performance and the
definition of particular oral genres may not depend just on verbal stylistics but also non-verbal
features such as music, dance or visual attribute and that these features too need investigation. Oral
forms are realized through performances carried out by people thus the interaction of individual
artistry and cultural conventions is another matter for investigation (p 82).
Oral traditions is a system of communication that is transmitted verbally from generation
to generation that includes the values, norms, knowledge, legends, myths, stories and aesthetics.
The phenomena in oral traditions is that the transmissions depend on the memories that are stable
in form through the centuries. This system of communication is a language expressed through
voice with meaning using words and phrases.This basically oral expression can be converted into
visual system called writing but can also be figuratively expressed in a language of sound, a
language of movement, and a visual language (Sedyawati in Pudentia (ed), 2015: 5-10).
This paper is to give voice to the Papuan Choreographers to show how they think in terms
of making new dances based on their oral traditions. Therefore, it is interesting to understand what
they consider important to them and how they see things as to represent their cultural identity as
insiders of their traditions. Subsequently through their eyes as an emic view point, we can look
and see at what artistic choices they make in creating the performances of choreographic works.
The purpose is to give a different perspective from what outsiders of this ethnic group has
commented, as can be seen in some literature such as “the Asmat is not a philosopher and cannot
explain his behavior and cannot explain his behavior, only on rare occasion will he make a rational
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decision” (Zegwaard. 1959: 1020-138), “the basic principles of Asmat philosophy, that death is
the prerequisite of life” (Rockefeller. 1967: 39), “It is not a pleasant sight, a people totally
indifferent to your presence: people educated but without a place in their own society, Mimika
strikes a person as a dead area filled with zombies. There is no work and no interest in work.
Religion of the past is no longer celebrated and the Christian religion means nothing to the people.
The past is gone forever. The present lacks vitality. The future holds no hope’ (Trenkenschuh 1970
in Karen Jacobs. 2011: 16). Other views which are connected to the political tensions in Papua
will not be discussed in this paper, although in discussions with the two choreographers, simmering
underneath a cheery and smiling exterior, an invisible tension as to how their selections for making
choreography will be received in Jakarta, is perhaps an extension of the” years of being
stigmatised.peoples” (Siregar et.al. 2013: 20). This disturbed feeling guided their choice amidst
the gate of freedom of expression in the dance study curricula at IKJ, to return to their cultural
heritage for the base of their artistic creativity. We would like the World to Know Us, is the sum
of discussions with them.
Papua people dwell in the tropical jungles, large rivers, long vast sandy beaches alongside
the Arapura sea. The Papua hinterlands are divided between two provinces named Papua and West
Papua. The people residing in these provinces are the indigenous tribes and the migrants to these
lands. The indigenous folk or the suku asli of Papua, are the Asmat, Mappi, Muyu, Mandobo,
Marin, Kamoro, Amungme, Dani, Paniai, Arfak, Bentuni, Ayawasi, Ayawatan, Biak, Yapen,
Waropen, Sentani and others. These tribes are divided into clans that dwell along the beaches, and
in the hinterlands.
The first choreographer, Martinus Akai is from Asmat. The Asmat peoples have 12 clans
those are, Safan Piri, Betsmbup, Bismam, Simai, Jeorat,Unir Sirao, Kenok, Siret Sire, Joepmak
Yain, Korowai, Sawi dan Kaikar. Each clan has its own ritual that is similar to the other clans
rituals, and some are different. The Safan clan in the Biapis village interested the choreographer
discussed in this article because it is the clan where he has the role of chief overseeing the villages
in all the Safan. In the Biapis village there is the Ipai ritual that contains the meanings and
philosophical beliefs of the Asmat. These are based on the existence of spirits that he calls setan
which are present in the life of humans.
The Asmat dance culture is based on the stories of Ji Atam. These stories give direction
and purpose to the Asmat. Atam is the history that explains the heritage of the Asmat peoples.
According to Martinus Akai, the pillar of Asmat culture is Ja asamanam apcamarthat, that means
“walk in balance’. The meaning of this philosophy is to balance the Asmat way of life by
safeguarding the traditions which must not be left behind despite building developments. The
Asmat are aware of not being alone in this life for example;
bila kami berjalan dalam suatu tujuan kita harus menoleh ke kiri, ke kanan, ke bawah dan ke
belakang menjaga kemungkinan masih ada sesama yang menderita di sana.”
(If we walk in one direction we must look to the left, right, below and behind us for it is possible
there are ones that are suffering in those places). (Martinus Akai, 2013)
The Asmat have unique and distinctive dance movements, music and sung poetry. Nearly
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all Asmat dances are connected to rituals and ceremonies such as Bisi, Firau, Wuramon, Ulat
Sagu, Ipai among others. Dancing to the Asmat people means a ritual process that cannot be pulled
apart from their daily lives. Dance is not just for entertainment but more important for the Asmat,
dance is part of the process of ritual itself.
The second choreographer is Paulus Yanyaan whose stage name is Alfo Smith and will be
used as is he prefers. Alfo is from the Kamoro tribe in Papua. There are two references about the
Kamoro tribe, namely Power (2010) and Jacobs (2012), but the two writings discuss the Kamoro
tribe in general in comparative studies among other tribes and as an ethnography to collect objects
as Kamoro tribe representations and discuss the Kamoro Tribe from the perspective of cultural
anthropology.
Alfo’s work is based on the traditional dance called Seka. The Kamoro tribe is one of the
tribes in the Mimika Regency of Papua, now known as Timika. The Kamoro tribe is a fairly well-
known tribe and has a unique cultural attraction including sculpture and Seka Kamoro dance which
is the oral tradition of the Kamoro in Papua. The Kamoro live in the coastal area of West Papua
(Power 2010).
This research data collection techniques are done by observation, visual and audio
documentation, and discussions with the choreographers, and a journey to Papua to review the
performance presented by Alfo in Timika. Due to limitations the performance in Asmat by Akai
Martinus Akai could not be viewed, and the choreography was presented again later on but with
changes adjusting to the venue in Jakarta. The performance in Jakarta will not be discussed in this
paper which will focus on the works presented and performed as site specific choreography in the
natural environment and communities in Papua.
DISCUSSIONS
1. Ipai Pambi choreographed by Martinus Akai
This dance work is based on the spirit traditional ceremony which in the language of the
Asmat Clump Safan Village Biapis called Ipai. The title I gave for this final work is Ipai Pambi
to differentiate from the traditional rituals. This custom is based on a ceremony which is a
reflection of the philosophy of the Asmat people's lives regarding their beliefs, which also
expresses a sense of togetherness that binds the feelings in the Asmat tribe. Biapis Village is
located in the Safan clan where the Ipai performance was held on May 24, 2011 in Papua.
As the choreographer himself explained;
“The tribe that will be raised through my final work is the Asmat. I am an Asmat son who wants
to elevate the Asmat in terms of culture. Ipai will be the foothold for my final work by maintaining
the Aesthetic and Artistic values of the tradition that are expected to bring the Asmat spirit in
accordance with the Ipai event as in its original environment even though it was staged in the
District Capital City. The audience is expected to be attended by the Asmat community, officials
and also guests from domestic and foreign as well as of course the examiner's team of lecturers
from the Dance Study Program (S1) of the Performing Arts Faculty of the Jakarta Art Institute.”
(Martinus Akai, 2013)
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Ipai is a traditional performance which is part of the community rituals The Ipai ceremony
is carried out by the Biapis village community of the Safan clan to commemorate the spirits. In
addition, the Ipai ceremony was also held because it commemorated an event or was also held to
warm the situation of the village because the elders or the adat council felt that the village was
quiet. The preparation process for the Ipai starts 3 to 6 months previous to the event. When the
time of the event arrives it is ended with an all-night dance called the para-para, only then
afterwards, can the peak of the Ipai ceremony escalate. At 5 o'clock in the morning the dancers
gathered to begin the makeup then the Ipai ceremony is held until 12.00 noon. Usually the Ipai
ceremony is held in front of Yae the traditional house of the Biapis village community.
The form of Yae is a long house inhabited by parents, especially widowers, teenagers and
children at certain times. The long houses are devoted to men, hence all who inhabit Yae are men.
The women live in the family home in the village. The role of Asmat women in Yae are restricted
only to entering the long house at certain times such as delivering food, morning and evening for
her husband and children. Whereas during the day, they deliver food for the elderly who look after
Yae and when certain traditional festivities and ceremonies are taking place. During the ceremony
children are not allowed in Yae because it is not yet time to be accepted to participate in traditional
ceremonies or rituals. In order to be accepted as a participant in the events, the child must go
through an initiation ceremony. Inside the Yae long houses that have been around for generations,
are filled with objects of ancient cultural tools that are stored there. These objects are believed to
contain meaning and sacred power. And are usually guarded by elders (tawuapakewe) or the son
inlaws or brother in law.
The direction the Yae long house must be facing is towards the front of the village and
towards the river. Yae forms long architectural structure and high above the ground as protection
from wild animals and overflowing tides from the sea. This buildings function is as: (1) Place of
education, (2). place of consultation, (3). place of ritual, (4). also as a place of worship. For the
Asmat community, the Biapis Safan clan village considers that the traditional ceremonies and
worship of the Church are a unity in the spirit that there are forces outside humans. So the Asmat
people in general and specifically the Biapis village, of the Safan clan, thanked God that this life
and cultural wealth was given by Him so that during the traditional ceremony this ceremony was
also a symbol of the beliefs and beliefs of the people.
Ipai is one of nine large traditional ceremonies that are generally accepted among the
Asmat indigenous community. These large ceremonies also contain the identity of each Asmat
family and must be centered on Yae. Besides these nine large ceremonies there are smaller
ceremonies that serve as rituals of memories of certain events. Below is a picture of Yae's house.
Choreographic Concept
According to the choreographer the reason for choosing the movement of the Asmat
tradition contained in the Ipai is because this ceremony is deeply embedded in his memory and is
an inseparable part of the life of the Asmat people. This tradition became a part of his personal life
so that inspiration emerged to create a new creation based on this traditional feast.
“ I think that the movements of the Asmat dance tradition with the development in them
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will be part of strengthening the Asmat cultural identity in the form of contemporary dance. One
of the developments made in my final work is the concept of staging. The Ipai tradition is carried
out in the forest without any boundaries between dancers and spectators. As a development the
show was held in the Capital District where there was a stage that was provided. Stage form is
semi arena. The audience circle the stage like the letter U. There will be space between the stage
and the audience in addition to the stage space.” (Martinus Akai, 2013)
Choreography Structure
In this final work, the performance has several scenes:
Scene 1:
Song and para-para dance performed by the tifa drum music player with dancers who sing
and dance to the tifa accompaniment starting from the night before, until the morning at 5 in the
morning. This dance will be performed around the performance area.
Scene 2:
Tifa rhythmically beats accompany singing Ipai songs, a sign that the peak of the Ipai party
is rising.
The chieftain of the tribal council leads the way to meet and capture the demon setan in
hiding.
Figure 1
capturing the demon in hiding.
(Photo: Martinus Akai)
The floor pattern when the group arrives at the setans hiding place is a triangle. The meaning is to
give passage to the setan: Pola lantai ketika tiba di tempat persembunyian setan berbentuk segi
tiga. They sing and the words mean the setan has been captured and will be driven to the Yae long
house for playing with the spirit. The setan spirit then appears. The women dance greeting the men
of the tribe that have captured the demon whereas the dance escalates into a fever of throwing at
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the setan objects such as sanapi sticks from wood, mud, wheat, gepe-gepe, Then there is playing
catch by the children chased by the setan. The closing scene of Ipai is the letting go of the Spirit
with a farewell speech and mantra chanted by one person trusted by the chief of the Biapis village,
and chosen to be the next chief. The other dancers stand in a straight line with community
spectators behind the demon.
Figure 2:
Scene of farewell to the setan by the Biapis villagers.
(Photo: Martinus Akai)
Scene 3:
Setan-setan, the name of the spirits, is picked up from his hiding place to be delivered to
the stage by four tifa drum musicians with several dancers. The number of dancers consisted of
10 people divided into 5 male dancers and 5 female dancers.
Scene 4:
This scene shows the highlight of the demonic game of the setan-setan spirits. In this game
the spirits and humans throw at each other wood pieces called sanapi, and also the mothers (female
dancers) hit him with gepe-gepe dry mud. The event of this scene is done in the middle of the
audience. The title given to this work was Ipai Pambi which means the feast of Satan to distinguish
from the traditional Ipai. The ornaments, costumes and props used in the Ipai represent the
livelihood of the community such as looking for fish (traditional fishermen), looking for Sago,
traditional carving art, weaving
Spiritual values in Ipai.
The Biapis (Asmat) people believe in demons that are considered to live with humans
spiritually. According to the Biapis (Asmat), demons are divided into three dimensions: 1. the
original devil: functions as maintaining the balance of nature 2. demons of the spirits of other
living things and objects in the Asmat realm function as a liaison or information provider 3.
demons from spirits of the dead: function as a blessing for sustaining and protecting and protecting.
Thus as communication with the spirits there are ceremonies and rituals.
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Biapis art is contained in the ceremony. In the ceremonies there are dance, singing and
stories. Stories are told directly orally through myths or indirectly through songs, dance and
carvings. The story in the dance can be an explanation of the history and legend of a character who
lived in the past who contributed in a village. His life history is remembered and made in the form
of parties, dance, songs.
The Ipai ceremony is a ceremony to commemorate the spirits.The elements of Dance,
Music with a percussion instrument called Tifa, include Song which is a literary expression uttered
rhythmically. According to Akai, the words are old language which apparently not everyone
knows the meaning, including the singers of the song.
The face is decorated using white chalk, red chalk and wood charcoal. The form of makeup
has meaning. Her clothes are daker or called susur saine (loincloth for both men and women) in
different shapes according to the traditional adornments such as Cuscus skin, bird feathers,
cassowary feathers, rattan anklets and bracelets. The spirit or setan-setan clothes is woven from a
special wooden tree bark
Dance Movements
Dance movements in the Ipai ceremonies use the word for dance in Asmat language which
is generally and specifically in the local language, Ndi. Ndi refers to the parts of the body called
upon to move such as: Ndi nako (the two feet), ae pater ndi (one foot), asine ndi (hip), juku fe ndi
(hip), mane ndi ( dance movement for both hands), mane taka ndi (dance movement for one hand)
atau mane pater ndi (one hand dance movements)
The dancers learn the dance technique through participating in every ceremony and ritual
in the village so they inherit the dance through generations of learning. The energy of dancing is
as if the spirit of the dance gives the warmth of fire and an external strength enters the body. The
rhythm of movements synchronize with the tempo of the music becoming faster or slower
according to the beats.
Body of the Kamoro choreographed by Alfo Smith
The choreography titled Body of the Kamoro was created by Paulus Yanyaan who is more
popularly in dance circles known as Alfo Smith. This young Papuan from the Kamoro tribe was
born and raised in Mimika, Timika Papua and an accomplished hip hop dancer who made it into
television performances whilst in Jakarta. While studying in the Dance Study Program at the
Institut Kesenian Jakarta 2013-2018, he also joined a dance group called the Animal Pop Family
as a dancer.
The work discussed in this paper is based on the Kamoro Seka dance which is a social
dance and performed in ceremonies greeting dignitaries and honored guests, also as an attraction
for tourists eager to enjoy cultural performances. Apart from the functions mentioned above, the
Seka dance has sacred values in the Kamoro life as a respect paid to the ancestors and forms a
space in the natural environment of the Kamoro. The Seka dance is a narrative of the origins of
the kamoro tribe. The experiences of the ancestors are embedded in the local wisdoms that
inherently contain stories of the religious beliefs, brotherhood, clan (suku), marriage
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rites,proverbs, kamoro language, and toleration between religious groups.
The religious beliefs of the Kamoro tribe are still tied to the traditional life and values until
this day. The Kamoro uphold highly respect to the ancestors and the rituals that must be conducted
in supplication for intentions. The rituals of these kinds are for example ritual for asking for rain,
for the sun, before going out to fish, before planting and harvesting sago.
Everything in Kamoro life is always connected to the rituals and in the bodily movements
that seem similar. The distinctions are in the songs that are sung in the rituals. For example if in a
ritual for requesting rain but the song sung is for the sun, then it is believed that it would
automatically not rain but the sun would keep on ablaze. The Kamoro also believe in not only the
sacredness of ancestors, but also in the air, land and sea such as the birds in the air and the fish in
the sea. The ancestors govern over the land.
The Kamoro view religion as a unity in all aspects of social life. Until today the Kamoro
traditions are supported by the Catholic Church as a form of cultural preservation to develop and
bring advancement to the Kamoro through the arts and culture in the district of Mimika (Pickell.
2002: xix)
On the 15th March 2018 the choreographer of Body of Kamoro flew from Jakarta to Timika
and on the 21st March 2018, the choreographer flew to Asmat to conduct further field research
and met with Martinus Akai the choreographer of Ipai Pambi to interact and have discussions.
Selecting Dancers for the Choreography.
The choreographer for the work Body of Kamoro conducted a selection process for the
dancers to participate and be major dancers in the process to performing the choreography in
Papua. The criteria was not only a good dancer by academic dance training but be by character,
from the same environment as the choreographer, a good name as a dancer or choreographer, good
discipline, dedicated in team work, responsible, willing to give and take in the context of process,
knowledge and experience, a serious attitude in rehearsals, not talkative out of context, having a
well built body and strength, dark skinned to symbolize the skin of the Kamoro
The role for dancers in the Body of Kamoro was divided into two that were academic or
professional dancers and traditional dancers indigenous to the Mimika district. The reason was
connected to the choreography creating process and concept chosen for performance as site
specific meaning it would be performed in the natural environment of the Kamor tribe. The staging
was open air so the spirits of the Kamoro tribal strength could be felt by all the dancers, traditional
or academic.
Basic movements of the Kamoro Seka dance are the moving of the tips of the toes, the
dancers stance is looking downwards to the toes, back and forth toe to ankle, left and right stepping
diagonally. The toes are pressing the earth to gain the strength to stand.The fingers are raised
above, sometimes turning, some times in a fist, sometimes suddenly opening and the fingers stretch
till the web between the fingers can be seen. The torso is pushed forward in alignment with the
toes. The eyes are calm facing towards the direction of the body. The arms stretch but the elbow
is aligned with the waist and two hands during the process in standing and always by the side, to
the left, right diagonally and upward.
In a sitting position, the legs are crossed. In a squatting position the balance is stressed onto the
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foot in front with the derriere placed on the left or right ankle.
.
Choreography Structure
In the creation of dance works certainly have the structure of the concept of choreography.
The Body of the Kamoro dance work itself is divided into 4 choreographic parts as follows:
Scene 1: Life force (Sampan)
With the sampan boat, the Kamoro tribe can overcome life problems such as;Economic
Needs,Social Needs, Religious Needs. The Sampan is so important for the Kamoro tribe. Sampan
has quite extensive functions and roles, namely as a symbol of life force, as a traditional means of
transportation from one village to another, and from city to village or vice versa. With the existence
of the sampan, the Kamoro people find it easier to make a living for their daily lives.
Figure 3:
sampan boat near the performance site.
(Photo: Madia)
Kamoro's life is a journey that must be strengthened in gratitude, thank you and love. The
life and daily life of the Kamoro people who depend heavily on nature is a gift left by the ancestors
to this day and the Kamoro tribe also highly appreciates whoever will enter the Timika region. In
the scene one shows the life and daily life of the Kamoro tribe such as:1.Fishing rod representing
In the process of fishing for fish, there are two dancers who carry out their daily activities, which
stand on the edge of the river, using traditional fishing lines or ropes tied to a bottle. And thrown
into the river while waiting to get fish.2.Look for sago wormsThe process of finding a sago
caterpillar, there is a dancer who while splitting a dead sago tree to search. 3.Look for tambelo
caterpillars. This daily activity consists of two dancers, one male and one female who walks into
the forest while looking for mangrove trees that are ready to be split. 4.Catch the shrimp There are
two female dancers who use tumang (a traditional tool to catch shrimp) to catch shrimp, both
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dancers hold tumang while sliding to the left, right, up or down while standing and submitting. 5.
Burn the sago ball sequence. The fire in this activity was prepared before the show until the first
scene. Fire as lighting for the strength and support of the performance. Beginning the dancer will
continue to be in the arena beside the stage. In the form of the concept of cultivation is as material
for burning sago, a dancer sits while forming sago to be round using his hands to be burned.
Climbing trees sequence. In climbing trees here are divided into two, namely the first,
looking for a internet network to make a call, and the second to see something or whatever is
happening in the far front, left and right while shouting or singing.
Make a fire
In this scene, there are four dancers who will search, arrange neatly like a bonfire to burn
and the embers will function to burn the Kamoro tribal ball sago.
Voice (story and scream)
Storytelling and screaming here are four dancers, two female dancers and two male dancers
standing or sitting telling stories and shouting (shouting as a symbol of freedom in land ownership.
Running and walking scene. The performance area is in open air, so the dancers walk and run like
a Kamoro tribe who exits and enters the mangrove forest to earn a living or to cross from one time
to the next.
Singing and playing a musical instrument sequence consists of one Kamoro tribe singer
and one musical instrument while dancing, directing each dancer who was previously arranged by
the narrator about the life of the Kamoro tribe while dancing into the arena and going out of the
arena. Each dancer enters the arena from every appropriate angle.
Scene 2: Soul Power (River)
Spirit has worked with nature and nature has worked with spirit meaning that the soul of
the Kamoro people depends on nature, not because of mere belief or suggestion but this is inherited
from the ancestors of which nature is their second soul. In the Karapao ceremony which is an
initiation into maturity, a member of the Kamoro tribe experiencing this ritual will feel possessed
suddenly and run to find another Kamoro as a process of transferring soul force, natural force,
ancestral power or spirit to the next Kamoro person as a sign that the person has entered maturity.
The three elements mentioned above are expressed through the philosophy of life "Eme
Neme Yauware / United, Brothers We Build.
Scene 3: A dancer splashes another dancer with water, sand and shouting as a symbol.
These gestures symbolizes the power which is the Kamoro tribe, that this is the spirit
strength of the Kamoro ancestral spirits and the ancestral power spirits have united with the souls
and spirits of each dancer. Kamoro tribal spirits were always there and will never be consumed by
time.
International Review of Humanities Studies
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Vol. 5, No.1, May 2020 (Special Issue), pp. 289-302
300
Figure 4:
Dancer and three elements water, sand and voice.
Photo: Alfo
Scene 4: One Kamoro Clan
In this fourth scene the dancers were calm because the spirits of the Kamoro ancestral
power have fallen so that the dancers begin to know the background of the Kamoro tribe by
touching fellow dancers and turning east, west, north and south as a united tribal Kamoro
brotherhood .
In a calm moment in the fourth scene a traditional Kamoro tribe enter the stage and give a
welcome sign to the four academic dancers and six lecturers of the Jakarta Art Institute (IKJ) as a
symbol that the Kamoro Timika Papuan tribe accepts as one Kamoro tribe in the Amungsa Bumi
Land Kamoro Timika Papua.
Processing the Senses
In the creation of a work the choreographer focuses on the senses. According to the creator
of the Body of Kamoro, a sense of the work is very important, therefore the choreographer always
instills a sense to the dancer through motion. Every movement that moves from one point to
another then the breath will be drawn in and vice versa move the breath it will be released by all
dancers as a form of spirit strength in the body that continues to work to become a unity in person
or group.
International Review of Humanities Studies
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Vol. 5, No.1, May 2020 (Special Issue), pp. 289-302
301
Figure 5:
Dancer uniting with the senses and Kamoro spirit.
Photo: Alfo.
CONCLUSION
Based on the discussions above, it can be seen that the rituals of initiation, daily lives,
interacting with spirits are an important reality to the Papuan choreographers. Although they have
both experienced training in making choreography in a modern dance sense, they both choose to
articulate and make a performance space in their respective communities. They hope that pride in
being Papuan especially as an Asmat and Kamoro and the energy of their heritage will bring a
further understanding between themselves, the communities and the Others in the cultural spaces
beyond Papua.
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Southwest coast of Papua. Mededelingen van het Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde .
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Finnegan, Ruth H. 1992 Oral Traditions and the Verbal Arts; a guide to research practices/Ruth
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Finnegan, Ruth. 2012. Oral Literature in Africa, The World Oral Literature Series. Vol 1, Open
Book Publishers UK
Hanna, Judtih Lynn. 1979. To Dance is Human. A Theory of Non Verbal Communication,
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Article
The study of oral traditions and verbal arts leads into an area of human culture to which anthropologists are increasingly turning their attention. Oral Traditions and the Verbal Arts provides up-to-date guidance on how to approach the study of oral form and their performances, treating both the practicalities of fieldwork and the methods by which oral texts and performances can be observed, collected or analysed. It also relates to those current controversies about the nature of performance and of 'text'. Designed as a practical and systematic introduction to the processes and problems of researching in this area, this is an invaluable guide for students, and lecturers of anthropology and cultural studies and also for general readers who are interested in enjoying oral literature for its own sake.
Article
“Besides being a goldmine for scholars, [Oral Literature in Africa] is a delight for the general reader…The people and animals and spirits of Africa live, laugh, weep and quarrel between the covers of this book.” — Journal of African and Asian Studies.First published in 1970 by Oxford University Press, this classic study has been hailed as "the single most authoritative work on oral literature”. It traces the history of story-telling in Africa, and brings to life the diverse forms of creativity across the African continent. Author Ruth Finnegan is thought to have “almost single-handedly created the field of ethnography of language” with this book, and it continues to be a go-to text for anyone studying African culture.However, despite its enormous scope and popularity, Finnegan’s book is now out of print. It is particularly hard to find in Africa, where its original retail price was beyond the budget of most university libraries. The non-profit organization Open Book Publishers is endeavoring to make this definitive book freely available to African students and scholars — and indeed to any interested readers around the world. The Unglued Ebook will be particularly friendly to people in places with slow Internet connections: once a copy is downloaded, the book can be read offline.This edition, developed in conjunction with Cambridge University’s World Oral Literature Project, will include a new introduction and extra digital material. When Finnegan’s book was first published forty years ago, the technology did not exist to include audio clips. Part of this Unglue campaign will involve the creation of a free online repository of Finnegan’s audio recordings of African story-telling, carefully collected during her fieldwork in the late 1960s. A sample from this collection can be found here. It demonstrates the richness of the audio material that will be made available for the first time as part of this campaign. These clips, together with original photographs taken during her research, will be an invaluable resource to scholars of African literature and culture.After decades of outstanding research, for which she was awarded an Order of the British Empire, Oral Literature in Africa remains the book closest to Finnegan’s heart. “It was so frustrating to me that my book has been largely unavailable to readers in Africa,” she says. “It is wonderful to think that it will now be freely read in the very continent it discusses.”
Collecting Kamoro: Objects, Encounters and Representation on the Southwest coast of Papua. Mededelingen van het Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde
  • Karen Jacobs
Jacobs, Karen.2012. Collecting Kamoro: Objects, Encounters and Representation on the Southwest coast of Papua. Mededelingen van het Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde. Sidestone Press and National Museum of Ethnology.
To Dance is Human. A Theory of Non Verbal Communication
  • Judtih Hanna
  • Lynn
Hanna, Judtih Lynn. 1979. To Dance is Human. A Theory of Non Verbal Communication, University of Texas Press, USA